The Environmental Resource Center would like to commend Blaine County on its recent approval of the composting project at Ohio Gulch and its willingness to pursue recycling grant funds from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. Such funding opportunities are extremely rare and Blaine County's proactive position clearly shows that it is considering an array of comprehensive solid-waste services.
It's unfortunate that the city of Bellevue has declined to be included in the grant proposal, but it is encouraging that the City Council will explore other options for recycling. Creating a local recycling drop-off does have some challenges but can be run successfully and provide a low-cost recycling solution where options are limited. Curbside is certainly another solution but one that comes at a significantly higher cost.
The drop-off at Ohio Gulch sees considerable use during the year. The drop-off in Ketchum also saw a considerable amount of use from all tourists and condominium residents before it was ended in 2007. Blaine County's grant proposal included consideration for reinstalling a Ketchum drop-off. The ERC has received many requests over the years for a drop-off in Ketchum, supports this development and has been working with city officials and the county staff to make a new Ketchum drop-off a reality.
As Blaine County assumes control of the recycling program, it should be commended for reaching out to the community with new opportunities. Blaine County plans on creating a "community solid waste" committee that will explore other ways to strengthen the solid-waste program. This committee could help identify specific goals and detail a plan to achieve these goals so that future grant opportunities can enjoy stronger support both up and down the valley. The recycling future is looking up and now is the time to plan for its success.
Environmental Resource Center